The successful test-firing of nuclear-capable Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) Agni-5 on Thursday has not gone unnoticed in Beijing, with security experts warning that most of China’s northernmost parts are now within striking distance.
Thursday’s launch was the fifth test of the missile which has a range of 5,000 to 6,000 km.
However, China’s security experts were skeptic about the missile range. Hu Zhiyong, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times: “Though the missile could theoretically hit Beijing, India’s missile technique is far below the standard.”
A cause of worry for China is that the 50-tonne missile can carry a payload of 1.5 tonnes, which is enough to mount a nuclear device.
The Agni-5 missile had undergone years of testing and will be inducted into the Strategic Forces Command after more user trial are conducted, a scientist at India’s DRDO said.
The previous four tests conducted in 2012, 2013, 2015 and December 2016. “The missile, which has a range 5,000 to 6,000 km, can reach the northern-most tip of China.
“Roughly speaking, Agni-1,2 and 3 were mainly designed considering Pakistan, while 4 and 5 are mainly designed for China,” the DRDO scientist told The Indian Express.
The Agni-5 was launched from the Abdul Kalam Island, off the coast of Odisha, around 10 am on Thursday. The launch vehicle for the missile has been developed by Ahmednagar-based Vehicle Research and Development Establishment (VRDE).